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close this bookAlcoholism: Prevention and Cure by Dr Courtejoie J., MD and Pierre, B (Bureau of Study and Research for the Promotion of Health - Congo - CPS, 1983, 175 p.)
close this folderPart 7: Slideshow: Preventing alcoholism
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentA few anecdotes, some medical advice and a few statistics which make one think
View the documentSimple health education problems related to alcohol
View the documentHealth education talk on alcoholism given in industries at noon


(Pictures 31 to 40)

Before continuing the talk, the educator should question the group on the previous lessons to see if everybody has understood them well.

Picture 30: "alcoholism is an illness that can be cured, especially if it is caught early"

Picture 31: "The most difficult thing for a man who drinks to do is to decide to stop, and, above all to rigorously stick to his decision.

He absolutely needs strong moral support from his family"

Picture 32: "A chronic alcoholic who wants to be cured and not relapse cannot let himself take even one drink of alcohol.

If he tries simply to reduce his alcohol intake, without eliminating it, he is sure to fall back on his old habits. One must learn to respect and not ridicule or laugh at the person who does not drink alcohol when offered a drink.

If a person refuses a drink, do not insist, do not force him to drink. When friends gather, they should always plan to have enough fruit juices and sodas available for everyone':

Picture 33

Picture 34

Picture 35

Pictures above: Instead of spending our energy and time making and drinking beer and wine, we should devote ourselves to other activities such as fishing, hunting, breeding, agriculture, etc, which can help the family, provide it with good food and be a source of revenue"

Picture 36: Instead of wasting his money buying beer and alcohol, the father decides to buy a bike for himself, another one for Diela, a new sewing machine for his wife. Each one can thus get what he or she needs to feel fulfilled,

Picture 37

Pictures 38: The parents earnings allow them to go together at regular intervals, not to the bar, but to the shop and buy what they really need.

Picture 39: "Diela is the one who benefits most from the harmony reigning in the family. He goes back to school; he no longer lives in the permanently tense atmosphere that prevailed when his father was an alcoholic"

Picture 40: "Man himself must work to create his own and his family's happiness.

But he can only achieve that if he faces reality, not by trying to live in a sort of dream world. Alcohol can make him forget his troubles and problems but it does not solve them. The whole family needs to stick together when facing difficulties Only this mutual support allows them to solve the problems of every day life"

A few anecdotes, some medical advice and a few statistics which make one think

* The black American Jesse Owens won 4 golden medals (notably the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the broad jump) at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. He was asked one day if he ever used alcohol. "All the time", he answered. - "Really ?... Then, what do you drink ?" "I never drink alcohol, but I use it to rub down before the start of each race"!

* Health Safety Sobriety

* One can become alcoholic without ever having been drunk.

* A large number of young deliquents were brough up by alcoholic mothers or fathers.

* The future belongs to sober people.

* The best way to fight alcoholism is to abstain from alcohol oneself.

* A mother must not drink alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding.

* Alcohol is worse for women than for men. Women have lower levels of tolerance to alcohol than men. Some tribes have a wise custom, the fruit of centuries-old experience, forbidding women to drink alcoholic drinks.

* Have another drink ? No, thanks, I am driving.

* When you are with a friend, do not force him to drink alcohol, do not insist. Respect those who do not drink.

* We drink to the health of others; let us think about our health, too.

* Alcoholism, a curse discovered by man, can be overcome by man's will alone.

* If we need alcohol to relax and to enjoy ourselves, how can we imagine that our children will not start drinking at a very early age ?

* Louis Veuillot (French writer 1813 - 1883) wrote: "Drunkenness has never brought anyone victory, but, rather, defeat. It has never prevented any accidents but often caused them. Drinking has led thousands of human creatures to misery, but not one to fortune; it has ruined the health of thousands of people but improved no one's; it has shortened thousands of lives but lengthened not one; it has lost thousands of souls, but never saved a single one. Women do not become better when they take up drinking; how many have grown worse. No son who took to drinking has ever grown more loving towards his parents; how many became the source of their parents' shame and sorrow ?"

* According to WHO, chronic alcoholism affects 6 % of the world population.

Which one of those two drinkers is not "a man" ? .The one which is drinking soda, which is calm and in good health ? Or the one who is drinking beer, is quick-tempered, unsteady on his feet, overcome by drink, unable to hold his glass upright ?

*One study gives the following statistics for France in 1979:

38 % of the drivers responsible for traffic accidents had more than 0.8 grammes of alcohol in their blood.
41 % of the deaths caused by traffic accidents were directly related to the effects of alcohol.
15 % of work accidents, 60 % of murders, 65 % of rapes, 45 % of arsons occurring in France in that year were due to alcohol.

* A piece of advice for drivers: Do not drink any alcohol or in any case make sure that the level of alcohol in your blood is lower than 0.3. g/l before setting out. Consult the preceding table which indicates the amount of alcohol in the blood an hour after drinking various alcoholic drinks.

* Either drink or drive, one has to choose!

* 16,322 persons died of cirrhosis of the liver in France in 1977; 90 % of the cases were due to an excessive consumption of alcohol.

* 8 % of the Canada's adult population are alcoholics and 40 % of hospital admissions result from alcohol abuse.

* 25 to 45 % of the men hospitalized in internal medicine departments in France are alcoholics.

* The liver eliminates about 0.1. to 0.15 g of alcohol per liter of blood in an hour. So, if one goes to bed at midnight with 1.8 g/1 alcohol in the blood and sleeps seven hours, at 7 o'clock in the morning the level of alcohol will still be 0.8 to 1.1 g of alcohol per liter of blood. Neither a copious breakfast nor a cold shower will change anything and driving safely to work is not possible.

* If a 65-kg man drinks 1.5 to 2 liters of 10- proof beer in one hour, the level of alcohol in his blood will reach a maximum of about 1.3 g/1 after one hour if he drinks on an empty stomach and about 0.8 g/l after 2 hours if he drinks during a meal.

If this man drinks the same quantity of beer in 6 hours, the level of alcohol in his blood will not exceed 0.2. g/l.

* In a home where alcohol is king, the man is a brute, the woman is a martyr and the children are the victims.

* He who does not drink is more precise, resistant and rapid in his movements.

* One reasons and calculates less well after drinking beer.

* Having character means knowing one's limits, being able to say "no" or stop in time.

* A sober man lives better, an alcoholic dies young.

* If you drive, don't drink, if you drink, don't drive!

* "The son of the vine is a sultan, the son of the grape is a satan" (Arab proverb). The son of the vine = the grape. The son of the grape = wine.

* An Arab fable:

"The palm tree had just been planted. Satan saw it and watered it with the blood of a monkey, then withdrew. The tree put forth flowers.

Satan came back and watered it with the blood of a lion. Finally, when its fruit was ripe, Satan appeared a last time and watered it with the blood of a pig. That is why palm wine took on the natures of these three animals. When the vapours of palm wine start to go to a man's head, he jumps and leaps about like a monkey. Once he is drunk he becomes fearsome like a lion before falling down and wallowing in the mud like a pig".

* Advertising which puts alcohol and sport side by side has no respect for human beings.

* At first as thin as a silk thread, a habit eventually becomes as strong as a steel cable.

* We should not judge our neighbour, but try to understand him,

* To abstain from drinking on the job is like fastening one's seat belt.

* alcoholics are not incurable.

* Neither alcohol nor other drugs can bring lasting solutions to human problems.

* Drinkers often try to escape their problems by means of alcohol.

However, alcohol only increases the number and seriousness of their problems.

* An alcoholic is an ill person who does not know he is ill and whose illness is unrecognised by others.

* According to a survey done in France in 1977, alcoholics take 15 times more leaves for illness exceeding 3 weeks than non-alcoholics. An alcoholic runs a 5 times higher risk of dying between the ages of 35 and 55 than a sober man or woman.

* Any boy or girl will soon hate their family if parents are always nervous and overexcited from wine or alcohol, where the slightest conversation ends up in quarreling, where their parents hit them at the slightest pretext.

* Many young people naively think they are protected from the ravages of alcohol... precisely because of their youth.

* Alcohol causes more ravages than any other type of drug abuse. It is more harmful than any other drug.

* "Liqueurs, strong beers and wine are bad for any children of mine".

* Slavery is no longer tolerable today, yet alcohol makes you a devoted slave.

* A short story:

One day Mary said to her husband:

"Peter, you are ruining yourself with drinking"! But Peter replied in amazement:

"You're exaggerating! I drink only a few glasses of beer or palm wine each day... I'm hardly ever drunk"!
Without a word the woman took a completely dry sponge and put it on a plate. Every day she poured a few drops of water on it. After a fortnight the sponge was swollen and wet, because it had little by little become filled with water. Then Mary called her husband:

"Look carefully, Peter! Do you see the sponge ? Well, it looks like your body: the sponge has absorbed the water, while your body has soaked up alcohol".

Peter understood the lesson. He kissed his wife and promised not to drink again, and he kept his promise.

* With the first glass the man drinks the wine. With the second glass the wine drinks wine. With the third glass the wine drinks the man.

* Health education should not seem to moralize, deprive man of his own freedom and joy of living. It must strike man's mind, conscience and heart.

* Alcohol is a poison that even kills the yeast which produces it.

* alcohol is a caustic liquid; it kills the body's tissues; try to pour a few drops on a wound to see the result!

* Just one glass of beer drastically increases the odds of an accident. "Don't drink if you drive".

* Just one glass of beer drastically reduces the playing abilities of a football player.

* A few glasses of beer will reduce real sexual ability.

* drinking three glasses of beer a day will in one out of two cases lead to cirrhosis of the liver after a few years.

* The only thing that a chronic alcoholic cares about: "How shall I get my ration of alcohol today" ?

* Someone who wants to avoid health disorders should not drink more than a maximum of 1 liter of 12-proof beer per day.

* A hunter who has drunk will have troubles hitting his target.

* An alcoholic is a person who has lost the freedom not to drink alcohol.

* A drinker's home is a troubled home

Simple health education problems related to alcohol

1. John wants to buy a bike that cost 2 400 local money units (lmu). Every day he drinks 3 bottles of beer at 8 local money units. a bottle. He decides to give up drinking. How long will it take to buy the bike with the money saved by not drinking ?

2. John wants to buy a bike that costs 2 400 lmu. Every day he drinks 3 bottles of beer at 8 lmu. a bottle, plus 8 additional bottles at the end of the month (I month = 30 days). He decides to give up drinking How long does he need to wait before he can buy a bike with the money saved by not drinking ?

3. Question removed

4, One bottle contains 3/4 liter of 8 - proof beer. How many liters of beer are there in a 12 bottle pack ? What is the total quantity of alcohol in the 12 bottles ?

5. Two workers each earn 15 lmu a day. One spends an average of 4 lmu. per day on palm wine. The other does not drink. How much does he latter save in one year compared with the first worker ?

6. Henry just got his wages. He decides to have a party with a bunch of 8 fellow construction workers and he buys two 10-liter bottles of palm wine at 45 lmu a piece. How many liters of palm wine will each person drink during the night if all the wine is drunk and each person drinks exactly the same amount ? The wine contains 4 % alcohol, how much alcohol will each person drink ? How many kilos of dried fish at 30 lmu. a kilo could Henry have brought home for the same amount of money ?

7. Every day, on the pretext of growing more robust, David drinks a
750-ml bottle of beer containing 4 % alcohol. How many ml of alcohol does David drink in a week ?

8. William drinks a bottle of beer at 8 lmu. a piece every day. After 30 days, how much does he spend ? How many kilos of rice at 12 lmu. a kilo could he have bought with this money ? How many glasses of rice at 2.5 lmu. a glass ?

9. Which of the following glasses contains the most alcohol ? Which one contains the least ? A 33-ml glass of 96-proof whisky, a 200-ml glass of 16 - proof hard beer, a 40-ml glass of 80-proof liqueur, a 133-ml glass of 24-proof wine or a 80-ml glass of a 40 - proof aperitif

10. How many milliliters of alcohol does a man who drinks three 3/4 liter bottle of 10 - proof beer absorb ? How many grammes of alcohol does he tolerate given that I ml of alcohol = .79 g?

11. Which of the following three quantities contains the most alcohol ? Which one contains the least ? Ten liters of 10 proof liter; six liters of 20- wine; two liters of 100-proof whisky.

12. A nurse's income is 450 lmu. per 28-day month and he drinks 2 bottles of beer at 7 lmu. on week days and 3 on Saturdays and Sundays. How much did he spend on beer in a 28 day month ? How much is left for living at the end of the month ?

13. A bar retails 30 packs containing 12 3/4 liter bottles of 8 - proof beer every Saturday; 120 people patronize it. How many bottles of beer are drunk in liters ? What is the total amount alcohol ? How many bottles of beer does each person drink on average every Saturday ? How many liters of beer ? How much alcohol ? How much does each drinker spend on average every Saturday ? How much does each of them spend on average on drinks on one Saturday, in one month (= 4 weeks), in on year (= 52 Saturdays) If a bottle of beer cost 10 lmu. ? if the bar owner makes a profit of 4 lmu. on each bottle, what will his profit be after one week ? One month ? One year ?

14. How long must each of the 120 persons of the preceding problem abstain from drinking beer on Saturdays in order to buy a bike that cost 3120 lmu. ?

15. The State police report one death in road accidents per year per kilometer on the Kasaingulu-Kinshasa road. How many deaths were reported between January l, 1960 and June 30, 1983 on 40 kilometers of road ?

16. A driver earns 40 lmu. to drive from Matadi to Kinshasa. If he stops 4 times on the road to buy a bottle of beer each time at 9 lmu a bottle, how much will he have left to bring home to his family ?

17. Two drivers each earn 375 lmu. per 28-day month. One of them spends on average 7 lmu, in beer per day; moreover, he is not able to work on Mondays, thus a lost of income amounting to 15 lmu. How much does the other driver, who does not drink beer, save compared with his dried in one month ? in one year ?

18. Paul is in the habit of drinking 2 bottles of beer per day at 8 lmu. a bottle. If he gives up drinking can he pay the tuition for his son with the money he saves? The entrance fees are 900 lmu. per term (100 days). Does he have enough money left over to buy school books too at 70 lmu. a book ? if yes, how many of them?

19. Simon's uncle lives in Kinshasa. Simon decides to go and visit his uncle. It cost 400 lmu. to go there and back. Simon usually drinks 2 bottles of beer at 8 lmu. per day. If he decides to stop drinkiing and save his money, how many days will he have to wait before starting out on the trip ?

20. Tom and his brother want to build a tomb for their late father. They need a bag of cement, which costs 96 lmu. a bag, and 20 flagstones at 5 lmu. a piece. Tom and his brother each drink 3 bottles of beer at 8 lmu. a bottle every Saturday night. If they stop drinking, how many weeks will they have to save in order to build the tomb ?

21. Jack and Susan became engaged in May 1. To please his fiancee, Jack decided to give up drinking completely. Before his engagement he used to drink 2 bottles of beer per day at 7 lmu. When will he be able to buy Susan a piece of cloth costing 476 lmu, thanks to the money he saves ?

22. Sam drinks a bottle of beer everyday; on Saturdays he drinks 4. One bottle costs 8 lmu. He wants to start raising rabbits; a pair of rabbits costs 168 lmu. If he decides to stop drinking, how many pairs of rabbits will he be able to buy after one month (I month = 30 days, including 4 Saturdays) of saving ? If each female rabbit gives to 20 baby rabbits per year, how many rabbits will he have after one year ?

23. My friend Robert wants to buy chickens at 35 lmu. a chicken. If he stops drinking his nightly bottle of beer, which costs 7 lmu. a bottle, how many chickens will he be able to buy after 3 months (= 90 days) of saving ? If each chicken lays 3 eggs per week, how many eggs will his family eat each week ?

Solutions to the problems (lmu = local money units)

A. 1. 100 days
A. 2. 3 months and 2 days
A. 3. question removed
A. 4. 9 - 360 ml
A. 5. 1460 lmu.
A. 6. 2,5 - 100 ml 3
A. 7. 210
A. 8. 240lmu. - 20 - 96
A. 9. It is a trap question because all the glasses contam the same amount of alcohol: 16 ml.
A. 10. 112,5 - 88,875
A. 11 500 ml 600 ml 1000 ml
A.12. 448lmu. - 2lmu.
A.13. 360 - 270 - 10,8 liters 3 - 2,25 - 90 ml 30 lmu.120 lmu. - 1560 lmu. - 5760 lmu. - 74880 lmu.
A.14. 104 weeks
A 15. 940
A 16. 4 lmu.
A.17. 256 lmu. - 3072 lmu.
A.18. Yes, because he will save 1600 lmu per quarter yes 10
A.19. 25
A. 20 4
A. 21. June 4
A. 22. 2 - 44
A. 23.18 - 54

Health education talk on alcoholism given in industries at noon

I would like to talk to you about a subject that many people tend to neglect because they feel it does not concern them. I won't be long, I'll just ask you to spare me about ten minutes of your time; after that, you can leave if you think you are not concerned or you can ask me any question you may have about the subject. I'd like to talk to you about alcoholism.

Potable water is a natural drink which satisfies all our needs.

However, water is hardly a delicious drink. It doesn't have much taste.
That is why man thought it was a good idea to add alcohol to water and thus created the two following classes of alcoholic drinks: fermented drinks: wine, beer, palm wine, etc. distilled drinks: aperitifs, liqueurs, etc.

I am not reproaching you for drinking something other than water but I warn you: immoderate use of alcoholic drinks leads to the most degrading and one of the most dangerous types of intoxication: alcoholism.

Alcohol is found not only in wine and beer but also in all aperitifs, liqueurs, etc.

It is important to know the amounts of alcohol contained in each of these alcoholic drinks because that is what makes their immoderate use more or less dangerous.

One liter of 20-proof red wine contains 100 g of pure alcohol, One liter of light beer contains 20 g of pure alcohol. One liter of strong beer contains 40 g of pure alcohol. So in one 100-ml glass of wine, there are 10 g of pure alcohol; in one 200-ml glass of beer, there are 4 to 8 g of pure alcohol. An aperitif contains about 20 g of pure alcohol.

Alcohol, like everything we ingest, is burnt in the body, but up to a certain quantity. Beyond this level the excess not burnt is toxic, especially for the liver and the brain.

It is generally accepted that an average individual can tolerate a maximum of 1 g of alcohol per kilo per day. Above this quantity, alcohol is dangerous.

Thus that means that an average 60-kg individual can safely tolerate a maximum of 60 g of alcohol per day.

If we refer to the proceeding information on the alcoholic drink rate of alcohol, that means one can drink six 100-ml glasses of red wine per day, that is 2/3 liter of red wine without danger.

Let us do a small personal test. Add up all the glasses of beer and of wine you have drunk today and these you will drink tonight and see if you are within the limits. See if you have not exceeded 1 g of alcohol per kg of your weight.

Alcoholism occurs in two forms:

Acute alcoholism or drunkenness: from time to time, on the occasion of a holiday, people drink more than usual and end up with a real "hangover". This is not serious, provided that it does not happen too often and that, one drinks moderately and within the allowed norms the rest of the time.

Chronic alcoholism is the second form (the most dangerous).

Let us take for example a man never drunk but who drinks more than what he should two liters of palm wine per day. He is not an alcoholic, you'll say, we have never seen him drunk! I will answer: "Yes, he is an alcoholic because the daily excess of alcohol over the years will lead to problems in this person".

How does one know if he or she is under the influence of alcohol ?
There is a very simple way: try to go two days without drinking any alcohol (palm wine, beer, liqueurs, aperitifs):

1. If you can easily do it you are free from alcohol.

2. If you can do it, though with great difficulties, you must reduce your intake and check from time to time if you are still free from drinking alcohol.

3. At last, if you cannot do it and, what is more, you notice some of the following signs (night cramps, nauseous feelings when you wake up, burning in the stomach, trembling hands, loss of appetite), you are under the influence of alcohol and you must be treated.

Have you ever thought about the consequences of alcoholism ?

Let us look at the effects on family life first:

Do you drink a lot and frequently go to bars ? If so, have you ever thought about all the money you spend which could be used differently ?

But the most important, have you thought about your children ? A proverb says: "when parents drink, children sink". This means that children must bear the consequences of their parents' drinking abuse.

A child who is conceived by alcoholic parents (remember two liters of wine per day for several years make an alcoholic man) has 5 out of 6 chances of having birth defects, mental retardation, malformation, debility, idiocy, etc. These are proven statistics. Please think about your children and restrain yourselves!

Let us examine the social consequences:

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not give strength but takes away 15% of a man's muscular force. This means that your professional abilities are reduced and you may have an accident in your factory or on the job.

30% of all work accidents are caused by alcoholic drinks.

Alcohol reduces an individual's abilities, depresses his reflexes and slows down his judgment.

A person driving under the influence of alcohol runs the risk of having an accident at any moment.

50% of road accidents are caused by people driving while intoxicated

A nation where alcoholism is on the rise is on the road to ruin.

France has one of the highest proportion of alcoholics in the world.

Alcohol consumption there in the eighties reached 28 liters of pure alcohol per adult per year.

However there are many people who do not drink alcohol or with great moderation like, for example, all these people who play sports and athletes who must make much greater physical efforts than any manual workers,

I know some of you will say to me: "We know one person who drinks a lot and who is in good health". I will simply answer: "There are exceptions to everything but we should not take isolated cases to prove a rule".

I am no there to tell you: "Don't go to the bar any more; it is a pleasant place where it is nice to meet friends but I tell you: "Be careful how you drink"! There are many nonalcoholic drinks and there is nothing shameful in drinking soft drinks.

If you take an aperitif, do not go any further; do not feel obliged, just to be polite, to offer a round of drinks; if several of you are drinking, remember that the maximum amount of alcohol a person may drink will soon be reached if several of you are buying rounds.

At home, when you have friends, do not feel obliged to offer alcohol because "it is expected". Offer soft drinks (which are cheaper than alcohol) which are excellent. Your friend will be able to choose without being compelled to drink beer or another alcoholic drink.

Avoid drinking alcohol at work or at the factory. It is not necessary to drink pure water, there are many ways to flavour water: syrups, fruit juices, coffee, etc.

Remember: you may drink one-and-a-half to two glasses of palm wine or beer per day without risk.

Alcoholism can easily be avoided. In such matters, prevention is easier than the cure. You only need a little willpower to stop at the beginning. Stopping takes much more willpower "rolling downhill".